Net neutrality is one of those phrases that sounds like the most boring topic in the world: on par with things like macroeconomics, tax law, and your 401K plan.
However, after a recent vote by the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) to change the rules of how the Internet is regulated, net neutrality is going to be a phrase you hear a lot. So, let’s break it down.
Alright, what does net neutrality mean?
Basically, net neutrality is the principle that Internet providers and governments should consider all data on the internet equal, and not charge different rates for service based on user, content, site, platform, etc. So, in layman’s terms, net neutrality means I can binge watch Parks and Recreation on Netflix at the same speed you can access and play your online elf fantasy game.
Um ok, shouldn’t that always be the case?
It should, but it isn’t. Without the guarantee of net neutrality by the FCC, internet providers such as Comcast and Verizon have the ability to charge companies like Netflix higher prices for delivering their content to their users at a fast speed. Thus, forcing the smaller sites who can’t afford to pay for faster data delivery to move at a slower rate, and to make you, the consumer, frustrated.
That’s not fair!
No, it really isn’t. Everyone in this situation loses except the cable companies. Sites like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon end up having to pay more money to keep their large consumer base happy with high delivery speeds, while the everyday Internet user has to pay more to binge watch their favorite shows to compensate. Small sites with less profit will struggle to survive without the ability to afford the fast delivery speeds, and new internet start ups will have little to no chance to grow. Without net neutrality, big internet providers and their CEO’s and lobbyists will be able to control which content provider lives and dies in the Internet jungle.
So, how do we get net neutrality?
The best way for the FCC to establish net neutrality is to reclassify the Internet as a telecommunications (or ‘common carrier’) service, like our telephone services. Unfortunately, the internet providers have a lot of power ($$$) to prevent that from happening. Therefore, the public (YOU) needs to get involved by supporting net neutrality.
Watch this fun video that explains the argument quite well, and tells you about how you can comment on the new FCC rules in support of net neutrality:
So, all you bloggers, vloggers, gamers, bingers, sharers, and browsers: now is the time to support an open Internet by leaving a comment in favor of net neutrality! http://apps.fcc.gov/ecfs/upload/display?z=uyjt4
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